28 October 2012

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Part 3

I'm so excited to share the cloth diapering experience of one of my good (in real life!) friends, Amber.


There are oodles of "cloth diapering" posts out there. You can read and research until you're so confused about cloth diaper options that you're paralyzed. And I thought people in the Huggies v. Pampers v. Luvs v. Store Brand camps were all nuts. You can even go to baby boutiques to "try" diapers out (I highly recommend that). So, how does one simplify the craziness of cloth? 

First, I am just going to say it: If you choose to cloth diaper, and actually do it, not just try it because it's the hip thing to do (and I'm not judging you if you just thought the patterns on the diaper covers were cute), you need to know that cloth diapering is not glorious.
Laura asked me to share two things in this post: (1) tips, tricks, and expert thoughts and (2) what diapers I use and why. 

So, to save time, which is a precious commodity for a mom, here's a list to accomplish #1:

1. Talk to a friend. What does she use, why did she choose that system or hodge-podge thereof? Borrow a diaper or two to test before investing. 

2. Consider waiting until after your baby is born to buy cloth diapers. You're likely going to want to do disposables for the first few weeks (or first 6 weeks!) until the baby is regular, you're recovered, and the family is ready for a routine. Plus, you may decide changing disposables and taking out the garbage is enough work for you! Or, you may have a baby with extremely skinny legs and waist and decide you should have bought the velcro (that overlaps) instead of the snaps after all. 

3. Commit to a system. I don't like the mix and match, hodge-podge. It's easier and saves time to have one kind of diaper than to try to match the right insert with the right cover, etc. I'm all for cloth diapering, but I don't want to spend a lot of time on it. 

4. If you use fleece or microfiber, have some prefolds and covers or disposables on hand for diaper rash. This is essential, so that you can slather that bum with cream and get rid of the redness!

5. Get a garbage can with a lid and foot pedal opener so you can throw the dirties in there. I skipped the liner and opted for a good spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar/water and rag to wipe it when diapes are in the wash. 

6. Get to-go wet bags for travel. 

7. Consider going with snaps. I went with velcro because it's better for skinny babies (since you can overlap the flaps) but is not nearly as durable as snaps. I'm sure I'll be replacing covers over time because of that choice, but they fit my long and lean girl!

8. Definitely use a cloth diaper friendly detergent that is free of just about everything. 

9. Initially, you won't need a diaper sprayer, as runny poo can go straight in the pail, but eventually you'll need to decide how to deal with poo. You can (a) get a diaper sprayer, (b) shake the poo into the trash can (which makes for stinky trash), or (c) become a dunker. I never thought I'd opt for dunking diapers in the toilet, but I never got around to getting a sprayer. So, I got an old Maxwell house can, dunked the diapers (or just shook the poo into the toilet, if it was shakeable) and use the can to transport the diaper to the pail in the nursery. So, I'm officially a dunker!

10. I love cloth diapering because I don't feel bad when I change my daughter's diaper every time it's a bit wet. I often see parents wait to change a disposable until it's really "full". That makes me sad because I don't want my daughter to have to crawl around with her pee (or poo) any longer than she has to! With cloth diapers, I never think "There went another 15 cents!" when I throw a diaper in the pail. I also love that I never have to make a trip to the store because we're almost out of disposables. :)

So, on to #2, what I do:

Well, first, I skipped the AIOs like the Freetime, because you're meant to air dry them, which takes forever (and means you need to have more diapers on hand). I also skipped the Bum Genius (after a borrowed go at it) because I hated taking half an hour to stuff each individual diaper when they came out of the dryer. Plus, both were very expensive. 

After talking to a friend, I ordered one Flip with three inserts to try. Its a waterproof cover with a microfiber/fleece insert that you just fold down to the baby's size. The cover is adjustable too. I ended up with 8 covers and 36 inserts (though you could get by with 6 covers and 30 inserts). I also got 10 Indian prefolds for when I need to put a cream on the bum, and they fold up well to lay in the cover (buy the regular size, not the premium, which are way too big). 

Here's how they work: Lay a liner in the cover and diaper baby. When diaper is wet or soiled, change the baby. Drop the old liner in the pail and lay the cover out to air dry if it's only wet, then re-use the cover on the next change. If the cover is soiled, toss it in the pail too and get a new one on the next change. I usually go through 2-3 covers a day and 8 or so inserts. I also double up on inserts at night. 

I wash every 3 days (I washed every 2 days until about 7 months). There's no stuffing; I simply wash them, toss the inserts in the dryer and hang up the covers, and then stack the inserts and stash the covers in a basket when everything's dry. The inserts even fit in my diaper stacker. Quick, easy, and less expensive than many alternatives. 

I hope this helps those considering cloth diapering. Do know that you can diaper however you want. The only important thing is that the baby has diaper on, it doesn't really matter what diaper! 

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